This week’s meeting has a pretty packed agenda with at least three times I think represent important decisions for the Town. The first concerns a proposed merger of the Town’s hydro operations with those of Lakeland Power (item 5.4), the second is the fate of Big Sound Marina and the management of the town’s waterfront assets (item 9.4.1). The third concerns parking for a proposed 168 unit condo-type development on the waterfront behind Emily Street (item 10.4.6). On the development issue, the Town needs to be flexible but it needs to be sure that it doesn’t unintentionally bend over to pick up a dropped soap bar. But let’s see the details and how Council responds to these opportunities and challenges.
Download the full agenda package and read up on the relevant sections. There is much more in the package than I can properly summarize in this preview. There is of course more on the agenda than I have noted below.
Correspondence and Deputations
5.4 – Roger Alexander, Chair of the Board of Parry Sound Hydro Corporation regarding a proposed merger between Parry Sound Hydro Corporation and Lakeland Holding Ltd. [This is the transaction that has been imminent fo the last six months. In fact the negotiations were completed in May, but it’s taken this long to get it through the various municipalities who are shareholders of Lakeland Holding and Parry Sound Hydro. I don’t expect much detail to be presented, that will hopefully come at the December 2nd meeting.]
There is nothing significant on the Consent Agenda.
Resolutions and Directions to Staff
9.3.1 – resolution to accept a three-year lease agreement quotation supplied by Near North Business Machines for multifunction copier equipment. [This concerns the lease of four photocopiers/scanners as the lease for the current machines is ending. The cost is about $12,000 per year, slightly higher than the amount for the previous lease.]
9.3.2 – resolution to deem as non-taxable one-third of remuneration paid to members of Council and local boards. [The net/net is that of the about $14,000 that Councillors are paid, only $9,300 is considered to be taxable. The remainder is considered to be remuneration of expenses related to carrying out their responsibilities. It’s the same as it was previously, but must be approved every four years.]
9.4.1 – two resolutions related to the operation of Big Sound Marina. The first is a call for proposal to operate Big Sound Marina. The second relates to a discussion with Small Craft Harbours regarding a divestiture of Big Sound Marina and/or the Town Docks. [This is a big deal as I see it. As the Chamber of Commerce will not be operating Big Sound Marina or the Town Dock this year the Town is faced with the prospect of finding a new operator, operating the facility itself (with unionized Town Staff, or summer students?), or not opening the facilities (not a likely situation). The second resolution concerns requesting direction on whether Staff should approach the Federal Government about the Town acquiring the facilities. This would have pros and cons as mentioned in the Staff R&R. The issue for the Chamber of Commerce seems to be the 20% of gross revenue they are required to remit to the Federal Government. It will be interesting to see what Council thinks about this.]
9.5.1 – a resolution to reauthorize for twelve months the Town’s support for parties wishing to apply for the FIT Program. [This is a reauthorization for an additional twelve months to support companies and individuals applying for FIT Program support.]
10.3.1 – a by-law to permit interim tax billing and set a late payment interest rate of 1 1/4 percent per month for 2014. [This permits the Town to bill quarterly taxes before the final budget is approved. It seems to me the 1 1/4 % monthly rate is a bit high considering current bank rates, but I guess it will make it easier to collect taxes where a taxpayer has a choice of paying taxes or an outstanding bill accruing interest at a lower rate.]
10.4.1 – a by-law to declare the former Fleck Street Road allowance property surplus and confirm the sale of this Town owned property. [A follow on to previous Council business, nothing new here.]
10.4.2 – a by-law to lift the holding provision for the rezoning application for 81 River Street. [It looks as though the builder can finally get back to work after time in the penalty box for starting without a building permit.]
10.4.3 – a by-law to appoint Mark Vandermeer as a building inspector. [This individual is the new building inspector for McDougall, and will be permitted to conduct inspections on behalf of the Town of Parry Sound. It’s part of a resource sharing agreement between Parry Sound, McDougall and Carling.]
10.4.4 – a by-law to enter into a custodial services agreement with S&B Janitorial. [Nothing of note, check out the council package for the details.]
10.4.5 – a by-law to amend the lease agreement with Festival of the Sound to share the utility and heating expenses for the CP Station property. [This is a cost sharing agreement that will save the Town about $2,500 per year. It makes sense, with the lessee on the hook for some of the expenses they will be motivated to limit these expenses.]
10.4.6 – a by-law to enter into a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the Town and DDMJ Construction regarding property in the vicinity of the Champaigne Street boat launch. This concerns the retention of parking spots. [Okay folks, is it Champagne or Champaigne Street? I can live with either but not both. As noted earlier this is a big issue in my opinion. The developer is leaning on the Town to allow as many as 168 parking spots on the existing Town property proximate to the Champaigne Street boat launch. The Town has suggested that there be 70 spots retained for public use, and no interference with the use of the existing boat launch facility. The developer has suggested only 30 spots. Council is being asked to provide guidance to Staff to negotiate an agreement. There actually is much more involved and I encourage people to download the Council package and review this section (it starts on page 102 of the PDF document).]
10.5.1 – a by-law to enter into a transfer payment agreement with the Province of Ontario concerning the grant from the Province under the MIII Forest Street funding agreement. [Just a matter of dotting i’s and crossing t’s.]
That’s it. See you Tuesday night.
Just Around the Bend (Parry Sound in Black & White)
Note: Not all agenda items are covered here. I typically skip items that have little material impact on the town. These items include simple requests for Tag Days (permission to canvas), Awareness Weeks/Months, road closures for civic events, and the like. Want to see everything that is on the agenda? The full agenda can be found at the town’s website (http://townofparrysound.com/pagesmith/14).